This will be my tenth set of ten!
If you haven't been following my blog, I decided to celebrate my 100th blog post by making ten lists of ten. I've written about lots of things lately including blogs that inspire me, great children's books, brain based learning strategies, motivating students, picture prompts, things for students to work on during reading groups, learning games, things to do with a list of 1,000 numbers, and test taking ideas and strategies. I have to say, it's been an adventure and an inspiration. I've had no problems coming up with ideas, and I'm feeling pretty good about these blog posts! I hope you have liked them as well.
Being a reflective person, I decided I want my tenth set of ten to be a reflection on the blogging experience so far. Here are my Ten Ways I Have Grown as a Teacher from Blogging!
Teaching Blog Traffic School, which has given me most of the inspiration and knowledge that I have about this blogging stuff!) Chatting with other teachers and exchanging ideas and strategies makes teaching so much easier as well as so much more fun. Within the blogging community, there are incredible teachers who are more than willing to share ideas. It's always been my philosophy in teaching to share ideas with anyone who asks. Unfortunately not all teachers feel this way, but I'm always honored when others like my ideas. I'm also enthusiastic about helping ALL children learn, not just my own class. I've never been in this for the personal glory, I'm in this for the kids.
2. I've made teacher friends around the world, at many different grade levels. As I mentioned, there are plenty of teacher bloggers in this teacher blog community. Now although I've never met many of these people, I know a lot about them! Between reading their blogs, and following their tweets, facebook pages, and Pinterest pages, I feel they are friends. Yikes, that almost sounds like I'm a stalker! I'm really just a person who enjoys getting to know people, especially teachers! We share a common bond. As a lover of social studies, when a place comes up in conversation or in a book, I can tell the kids... I know a teacher from ... and the kids are thrilled! (Brain research teaches us the importance of making those connections!)
3. I learn from teachers at completely different grade levels. I come from a family of teachers, and I always find it interesting to see how much I have in common with my brother, who teaches at the college level, and my sister who teaches at the high school level. In fact, I'm always amazed at how much I had in common with my Dad, who was a high school football coach! The size of the student really doesn't matter that much. Teachers are caring people and have many of the same strategies and concerns no matter how big the student is, or what they are teaching. Since I've been blogging, I do tend to visit mostly blogs of teachers who are in the primary years, like myself, but I visit a lot of other teacher blogs where the content is far from beginning readers and writers. Yes, I even learn from physics teachers and algebra teachers!
4. I've learned more computer tricks. I certainly haven't mastered HTML yet, but I understand it better, and have become acquainted with lots of little tricks and websites since I've been blogging. There are things I do regularly now that I never would have tried a couple of years ago. I certainly have a long way to go, but I've really learned a lot, and plan to continue learning! (The way technology keeps changing, continuing to learn really isn't an option anyway!)
5. I'm more focused on how children learn. One of the topics that always catches my attention is brain based learning. I've found lots of wonderful resources on this topic, and I'm developing an understanding of how the brain works. In fact, I like to think I'm becoming an expert on brain based learning. (Although I admit, putting that in writing makes me nervous, as I also know how much more there is to learn, that even scientists don't know yet!)
6. Putting myself in the place of the learner forces me to think about learning. As a teacher, I know what it's like to want the learner to learn. As a learner, I can remember the challenges, frustrations, and successes of the learning process. Since blogging involves a lot of learning, it gives me a stronger connection with my students: I know what it's like to be them!
7. I've been making better materials for my own students. I've always made things for my students. Of course, all teachers do this. But now I find myself making things with a little more care, thinking that there must be other teachers out there who could also use this. I find myself thinking, how could I make this so that more levels could use it, or so that larger groups could participate, or how could a teacher differentiate for lower/ higher students. So I make it a little more detailed, with a little more thought, and I put it up on Teachers Pay Teachers as a freebie for anyone who might be able to use it. Then I find myself looking at other materials on the same topic, looking for ways to improve upon it even more!
8. I have plenty of free teaching materials at my fingertips. Sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers, Classroom Freebies, several Pinterest boards and several teacher blogs I visit (see The Cornerstone for Teachers) are constantly giving out freebies. I'm always amazed by how many games and activities teachers make that practice and develop the same skills my kids are working toward. There's a whole lot of great stuff out there, and most of it is free! The more I explore teacher blogs, the more I know exactly where to find just what my kids need! (If I can't find it, I'll make it, and share it with someone else!)
9. I've learned about Whole Brain Teaching With all my reading on how the brain works, I've discovered Whole Brain Teaching! Visit their site, check out a few of their free videos and free materials, and see how they've taken research on the brain and put it into classrooms for optimum learning. I'm totally hooked! I even attend their weekly live Webinars every Tuesday at 8 pm! (But they can be watched anytime!) I use many of the Whole Brain Teaching techniques in my classroom, and I couldn't be happier.
10. I do more reflecting on my own teaching. I've always been a naturally reflective person, but now that I'm a teacher blogger, I am even more reflective. My own experiences in the classroom are what inspires my blog posts. As I go through the day, I'm always thinking... would this be interesting to blog about..? Would other teachers benefit from reading a discussion on what happened in reading today..? I'll bet other teachers would love to hear how my students reacted to this book... and so on. I'm constantly reflecting on how I can make my classroom the best it can be, and how I can share it with other teachers.
How has blogging or blog hopping affected your teaching?